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Traditional Attire Takes Mataiasi Far

Traditional Attire Takes Mataiasi Far
Mataiasi Qaroro and Akosita Ratuvau model the most creative design winning wedding attire during the 2015 National Women’s Expo fashion show on October 15, 2015. Photo: Ronald Kumar
July 30
11:00 2017

It took Mataiasi Qaroro, of Labasa, a lot of courage to come out of his comfort zone and become a fashion designer, with a difference.

Yes, that’s right, a fashion designer, who specialises in making traditional wedding attire from kuta.

He has been in the limelight winning awards during the Rural Women’s Fashion Show at the National Women’s Expo for the most creative attire.

The 51-year-old is originally from Niurua, Macuata, and has maternal links to Sasa in Macuata.

“This talent started when I was in Year Eight,” Mr Qaroro said.

“When I was nine-years-old I was adopted by my father’s (Epeli Baleiwai) sister Asenaca Varayame as she was married without any child.

“From there my aunty brought me up teaching me how to make traditional handicrafts.

“In pleating, it only takes me a few days to complete traditional attire; other women it takes them a week and a month to complete,” Mr Qaroro said.

“My wife (Mereoni Dioi) stays home because as I use my talent and I am able to sell my work and pay for all house expenses from bills to food for the family.

“My business in handicraft has been a great advantage as it has been recognised around Fiji.”

Mr Qaroro said his success started when he took part in a Macuata handicraft competition. This was when he came out with traditional attire.

In 2009 he started taking part in an expo and followed 2010 with a trip to New Caledonia for the Melanesian Arts Festival.

This was followed by on his participation on a women’s expo in 2014, 2015 and 2016. There he scooped the best traditional attire. Mataiasi Qaroro? A man showing the way in what was a woman’s world.

Feedback: peni.drauna@fijisun.com.fj

4 FASHION & TRENDS

Saturday July 29 – Sunday July 30, 2017

Peni Drauna

Staff reporter

Traditional Attire Takes Mataiasi Far

Mataiasi Qaroro at the Labasa Flee Market on July 21, 2017. Photo: Peni Drauna

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Mataiasi’s attire @ expo

A woman models one of Mataiasi Qaroro’s designs.

Mataiasi Qaroro and Akosita Ratuvau model the most creative design winning wedding attire during the 2015 National Women’s Expo fashion show on October 15, 2015. Photo: Ronald Kum

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